I recently returned from my first visit to Skomer, an island off the coast of Pembrokeshire. Once used as a remote farm, Skomer is now a Wildlife Trust reserve. Back in January I booked myself three nights in the converted farm building, with the hope of photographing the island’s famous puffin colony, as well as razorbills and guillemots. For a while it looked like the non-arrival of spring might leave me on a puffinless island, but the weather turned just in time, and I found myself on a sunbaked Skomer, watching Puffins returning to select their mates and burrows.
Skomer doesn’t just offer a chance to view seabirds. As well as appearances from the islands populations of kestrels, merlins, peregrine falcons and buzzards, my visit also coincided with rare visits from both a montagu and pallid harrier (a potential first for Wales). There was also plenty of opportunity to watch oystercatchers, wheatears, whimbrels, the occasional inquisitive seal, short eared owls and an excess of gulls.
I took the return boat with a certain sadness, having thoroughly enjoyed myself over the three preceeding days; cut off from the rest of the world, and nothing to do but take photos. I now have two thousand photos to prune and a resolution to return in twenty fourteen.